「偽りの心」 (Itsuwari no Kokoro)
Not only is Grandma’s bitch dial turned to max, she ups the ante by turning her psycho dial up a notch. She’s successfully added murder to her roster of wrongdoings and quite frankly, her mindset is morbidly fascinating. As a master manipulator, Grandma is frustratingly good at turning any situation to her advantage, pinpointing a person’s weakness and latching onto it like an unholy leech while spewing venom worthy of the deadliest viper. The protagonists are naive for sure, but this old lady is a step above every single one of them when it comes to construing circumstances in her favor.
It was certainly rage-inducing watching Tamaki so passively let Takuma go, but considering how Grandma worded Takuma’s transformation last episode, it’s not difficult to see why noble idiocy reared its ugly head in this case. From Tamaki’s point of view, the situation has been framed as her fault – she is the cause of Takuma’s plight. She is causing his transformation, because she isn’t powerful enough, because she has yet to fully awaken as the Tamayori Princess. It’s a devious way for Grandma to have things go the way she wants, but it’s highly effective as it renders any objections Tamaki might have had completely moot. The one thing Tamaki does not have faith in is herself – it’s that weakness Grandma exploits, just as she exploits Takuma’s desire to protect Tamaki. In this aspect she makes the best villain in the show. Her motives can’t even be considered purely good anymore, and her character is even gnarlier than the wrinkles on her face. The drama she causes is certainly meaty and welcome, but to lower viewer blood pressure, her screen time needs to be reduced stat.
Mitsuru is another victim of Grandma’s never-ending list of People to Torture, and she seems to have taken the psychological brunt of most of her manipulative nature due to her proximity to the old woman. She seems to have retreated into a catatonic state, most likely to cope with the guilt of having to lead innocent people to their deaths. While it can be argued she’s responsible for her actions, it’s hard to blame Mitsuru completely since she seems like such a classic victim of circumstance. Nothing will validate them, but just how much of it was her actions? Grandma’s influence is so strong with her that it’s very difficult to tell where Mitsuru’s own will begins and ends. At this point she seems to have resigned herself completely to her fate, something that’s both tragic yet a little foolish. It’s foolish in the sense that she’s almost willingly committed to following Grandma’s orders, whatever they may be. More of the responsibility gets shifted onto her, and you can only be called a victim so many times. It perpetuates an ugly cycle: Grandma preys on Mitsuru’s passiveness, and that passiveness leads her to simply submit to the old woman’s demands, starting another round of manipulation.
Perhaps it’ll be better to just hand the Onikirimaru to Logos as Shinji suggests, since it’s hard to imagine a worse fate for the protagonists. It feels like having the Logos oppose them would be more beneficial in awakening the true potential of the Tamayori Princess and her guardians than this angsty merry-go-round the characters seem to be stuck in. I don’t even want to know what Mahiro’s role is – it can’t be anything pleasant, considering Grandma’s track record. Unfortunately, Aria doesn’t seem too intent on taking the Onikirimaru though, and while her personal motives have remained in the dark so far, this episode offers a glimpse into what she may want.
Reviving the dead has always been a popular motivation, and not without reason. The pain of missing somebody is often too great, but there’s also something awfully romantic about an unreachable goal that defies all reason and logic. It drives people to impossible lengths because the fundamental emotion behind the desire is love, the most powerful and vivid emotion there is. Who exactly Aria wants to revive is unclear, but it’s highly likely it is her mother, since the song Vier sings is something very much akin to a lullaby a mother would sing to her infant daughter.
Vier has always been rather maternal towards Aria, and it’s interesting that Suguru points out her uncanny resemblance to his own mother. It would be some kind of twisted fate if she did indeed somehow turn out to be Suguru’s mother, but it’d also provide Vier with a solid reason to oppose Grandma and side with Logos – assuming there is no memory loss involved.